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Bill Maher is Emmy's biggest loser — bigger than ever

September 20, 2009 |  7:42 pm

Bill maher emmys

For the last few years, Bill Maher has reigned as Emmy's biggest loser, but now he just increased his losing streak with the defeat of "Real Time" to "The Daily Show" for best variety series. Maher is a producer, so he shares in his show's latest Emmy defeat. He's now lost 22 times without a win.

Bill Maher's Emmy snubs date back to a 1995 nod for "Politically Incorrect" as outstanding variety, music or comedy series. ("The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" won that year for the only time.) Maher's ABC show brought him 11 nominations in total – producing (eight), writing (two) and hosting (one).

As Maher's losses are mostly for producing and writing, Angela Lansbury's record of 18 losses as a performer remains safe for some time. Last September, Bill Maher told Gold Derby that he's cool with being the biggest loser of TV's top award. We huddled up at the Toronto International Film Festival last year to discuss his documentary "Religulous."

At the time of the interview, he had 19 past defeats at the Emmys. You can tell from watching our discussion of this topic with "Religulous" director Larry Charles (a two-time Emmy winner for "Seinfeld") that Maher is, underneath it all, at least a bit irked. Note that Maher mentions that his Emmy losing streak might not matter if he wins an Oscar for "Religulous" as best documentary. But uh oh — he was snubbed by the motion picture academy. 

Below is the portion of our chat in which I ambushed Maher to get his view of his Emmy fate. In the past, whenever I had submitted a formal request to interview him on the subject, it had been ignored. So I decided to seize this opportunity while being granted time with him to discuss "Religulous." Normally, it's Maher who puts people in the hot spot. Oh, what fun it was to do so to him!

Photo: HBO

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